Double Broccoli Quinoa Salad is a favorite summertime recipe. It's always a hit at potlucks, and it's perfect for picnics and cookouts. Quinoa salad is a terrific side dish for veggie burgers and sandwiches, and it makes a great light main dish for warm evenings, too. This recipe is super easy to make using just a few ingredients. The secret to its success is the broccoli pesto. It's vegan and gluten-free.
Broccoli Quinoa Salad
Broccoli Quinoa Salad is an old favorite from the early days of my blog that was in need of a fresh update. I originally based the dish on a recipe from 101Cookbooks.com. That recipe wasn’t vegan, so I’ve took out the dairy products and added my own twist to it. I’ve served this dish at many potlucks and even demonstrated it for a few cooking classes, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser.
Whenever I cook grains like quinoa or brown rice, I like to make extra and freeze it, so it's ready when I am. I almost always have a cooked bowl of quinoa on hand in the fridge or freezer. It makes preparing salads like this a breeze.
Quinoa uses a 1:2 ratio with water. So, if you need to cook the quinoa to make this recipe, you'll need 1 ½ cup of quinoa and 3 cups of water. Combine quinoa and the water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Then remove it from the heat and let it stand for about 5 minutes. Fluff it with a fork, and you’re ready to go!
Make sure the quinoa has cooled completely before making this salad with it. If it's not, it gets kind of mushy when you mix in the broccoli pesto.
It's important to cut your broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces for this recipe. If the pieces are two big, it becomes difficult to mix them in with the quinoa. Large pieces also makes it difficult to eat.
Raw broccoli isn't very tasty, and it's a little difficult to digest, so I like to steam it when I make this recipe. To do this, I add about an inch of water to a large pot and place a steamer basket inside of it. I fill the basket with the broccoli florets, bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and let it cook for about 5 minutes. The broccoli softens and turns bright green.
If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can blanch the broccoli. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and have a bowl of ice water standing by. Cook the broccoli in the water for a minute or two, until it turns bright green. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and plunge into immediately in the ice water.
Pesto is the best-o. It's terrific with pasta and whole grains, and I even like to spread it on sandwiches. Traditionally, pesto is made with basil, but I like to mix up the greens I make it with. Sometimes I use spinach, other times arugula. And this recipe uses a pesto made with broccoli, which is quite divine.
To make broccoli pesto, just place half of the steamed broccoli in a food processor along with garlic, olive oil, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and sea salt. Process until it's finely chopped and mixed together. It will be a little on thick side, but that's okay.
Making Broccoli Quinoa Salad
Making Broccoli Quinoa Salad is super simple!
- First, you steam the broccoli.
- Then, you make broccoli pesto.
- Next, you combine the cooked quinoa with the pesto.
- Finally, you toss in the cooked broccoli, chickpeas, vegan feta, and roasted red peppers.
I like to use my homemade vegan Tofu Feta when making this recipe. If you don't want to make your own, you can use store-bought dairy-free feta. Violife makes a tasty feta.
This recipe will serve about 12 people as a side dish or about six as a main. If you want to serve it as a main dish for lunch or a light dinner, I recommend placing it on a bed of lettuce or spinach.
Double Broccoli Quinoa
- 5 cups broccoli cut into small pieces
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 can (14-ounces) chickpeas drained and rinsed, or or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup Tofu Feta
- 1 cup roasted red peppers diced
- Steam the broccoli. Add about an inch of water to a large pot. Place a steamer basket inside and fill it with the broccoli florets. Bring the water to a boil, cover the pot, and let cook for about 5 minutes, until the broccoli is bright green and tender.If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can blanch the broccoli. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, and have a bowl of ice water standing by. Cook the broccoli in the water for a minute or two. Remove the broccoli with a slotted spoon and plunge into immediately in the ice water.
- To make the broccoli pesto, mix together half of broccoli, garlic, olive oil, cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and sea salt in a food processor fitted with an s-blade.
- Mix together the broccoli pesto and cooked quinoa in a large bowl until it's thoroughly coated. Fold in the rest of the broccoli, the chickpeas. feta, and roasted red peppers.
- Refrigerated unti ready to serve. Serve cold or at room temperature.